Is it summer where you live? It may not yet be the dog days of summer, but we bet it’s starting to warm up nicely!

Wonder Friends know that we’ve already visited the coldest place on Earth. Now it’s time to put on our short-sleeve shirts and shorts and head to the hottest place on Earth!

The Earth is a huge place and two thirds of it is covered in water. The other third is dry land that we can live on. But did you know that one third of that dry land is actually desert that’s too hot and dry to support much life?

Most of the deserts of the world are near the equator. This nearness to the equator makes deserts hot. A lack of moisture also makes them dry and not a good place to live.

The deserts of the world are where we find most of the hottest places on Earth. Answering the question of where the hottest place on Earth is, though, isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. For example, the place with the hottest temperature ever recorded might not be the hottest place year-round.

To date, the hottest temperature ever recorded was 159.26° F in 2005 in the Lut Desert in Iran. This area of desert in Iran is so desolate that no life — not even bacteria — has been found there.

The hottest part of this desert is an area of over 180 square miles called the Gandom Beriyan, which means “toasted wheat.” Walking across its black volcanic rock in the heat of the day would be like walking on burning coals!

Before 2005, the previous high temperature was 136° F in 1922 in El Azizia, Libya. Wow! Those are some hot temperatures. But you don’t have to go all the way around the world to find temperatures approaching those highs. Instead, you could go to California right here in the United States.

Death Valley, California, routinely sees temperatures above 100° F in the summer. In fact, the highest recorded temperature for Death Valley was 134° F on July 10, 1913! Death Valley sits within the Mojave Desert.

As hot as all of these places are, though, there’s one other place that maintains the highest average temperature year-round. That honor goes to Dallol, Ethiopia. Day in, day out…all throughout the year, Dallol’s average temperature reaches almost 94° F!

Dallol sits in an area known as the Danakil Depression. High temperatures in the area can regularly reach over 115° F. Formerly a mining town, Dallol is now mainly a ghost town that can only be reached via camel.


56 Join the Discussion

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  1. I was very close to guess today’s wonder. :) I loved today’s wonder! :D I think tomorrow’s wonder of the day is about fire.

    Fast Fact: I think today’s wonder of the day has a chain to wonder of the day #481 – Where is the coldest place on Earth?


  2. It’s summer where I live because school got out yesterday. I think tomorrow’s wonder is about fire breathing dragons.

    • Happy summer vacation, Kristin! We’re glad you’re visiting Wonderopolis and WONDERing about cool new things while you’re on break! We really like your guesses for tomorrow’s Wonder…they’re AWESOME! :-)

    • Hi, “Wonder!” Thanks for sharing how today’s Wonder of the Day® makes you feel. It had that affect on us here in Wonderopolis, too! In fact, we feel like we need a big sip of cold, icy water when we watch today’s Wonder video! :-)

    • You sure were, Wonder Girl! Great job and GREAT guess! We’re glad you stopped by Wonderopolis to learn about some SUPER hot places with us today! :-)

  3. This was a beautiful wonder of the day but we don’t want to go there. I can’t believe people actually live there. We were surprised to learn about Death Valley and that it is in California. We can’t believe that one day the temp was 159 degrees. We never knew it could be so hot in a desert that even bacteria won’t grow. Today is our last day of school and we spent it with you!

    • We’re very honored that you guys chose to spend part of your last school day of the year learning new things with us in Wonderopolis, Mrs. Krupp’s Third grade! We really enjoyed hearing what you learned by exploring today’s Wonder…THANK YOU for sharing! We hope you all have a WONDERful summer filled with AWESOME adventures and LOTS of WONDERing! Be sure to visit us from home over the summer, too! We’ve got some GREAT things planned! :-)

  4. This wonder was really cool! I didn’t know that temperatures could get that high! I think tomorrow’s wonder will be about dragons.

    • We thought it was neat to learn about all those really hot places, too, LKvolleyballGirl! Thanks for checking out today’s Wonder and also for leaving us a comment to let us know your were here! Have an AWESOME day! :-)

  5. I didn’t know that it was that hot there! I would not like to go there in the summertime. I think tomorrow’s wonder is going to be about : who discovered fire. I was born in California but moved to Ohio. Have a WONDERful day!

    • Hi there, Becca! We’re sure glad you stopped by today’s Wonder! Thank you for sharing your thoughts about visiting the hottest places on Earth in the summertime…we appreciate your comment! Thanks, also, for letting us know that you used to live in California! We think that’s really neat! :-)

  6. Dear Wonderopolis,

    Today is our last day as KF Dragons, but that’s okay. Once a dragon…always a dragon. Next year we will be in first grade, and we can’t wait to Wonderopolis with you again. We will visit you every day in the summer. Thank you for EVERYTHING. We love you the most!!!

    Have a WONDERful summer!

    Mr. Fines and the KF Dragons

    “Won’t you Wonderopolis Today”

    • You guys are AMAZING, KF Dragons friends! Your comment made us a little teary-eyed. We have learned so many things together and you have touched our lives with your sense of WONDER and ENTHUSIASM! We wish you all the very best summer ever and we hope you will leave us comments when you visit Wonderopolis! Give Mr. Fines a big hug for us…we think he’s WONDERful, too! :-)

  7. I missed yesterday’s wonder, but I am glad I read today’s. Knowing it can get that hot in a single place is kinda scary. I thought our weight room at school got hot after we lift, but now I am going to think twice. This wonder was fun and very informational. Can’t wait till tomorrow’s wonder!!

    • Thanks for making a personal connection to today’s Wonder of the Day®, boyWONDER! It is interesting to think that a place on Earth can get that hot! We’re glad you can’t wait to visit tomorrow’s Wonder…we can’t wait, either! :-)

  8. Thanks for another great wonder Wonderopolis. I really enjoyed it. I also checked out the last 2 wonders because I missed them. Tommorow’s wonder might be, do dragons really exist? I know they do because a bearded dragon. Becca (who responded earlier) is my friend. Have a sophisticated (nice) day. Bye.

    • Hello, Johnny! Thanks so much for wishing us a sophisticated day! We think you might be the very first Wonder Friend to wish us that type of day! We also think dragons would be FUN to WONDER about, and we like your guess for tomorrow’s Wonder, too! :-)

  9. Me and my brother loved the wonder. WE ARE SO THRILLED people live there and it’s 145 degrees.

    your wonder friends from Minnesota

    • It makes us super happy that you and your brother visited today’s Wonder together, Jordyn! Thanks so much for letting us know! We hope you had as much fun as we did learning about the hottest place on Earth! :-)

    • How WONDERful it is to hear from you today, Ms Lirenman and Division 16, Grade One! We are proud of you for guessing what today’s Wonder of the Day® would be about! GREAT JOB! We’re not sure how many scientists are working in the desert. We bet there are a LOT, though! We are WONDERing about all the things that need studying in the desert…plants, animals, rock formations, weather…the list goes on and on! :-)

    • Hi there, Kristin! We take suggestions for future Wonders of the Day from our Wonder Friends very seriously, and we consider each request very carefully. It takes a while to create a Wonder of the Day®, from the suggestion or idea, all the way to the finished product! We have LOTS of great Wonders coming up! THANK YOU for suggesting yours! :-)

    • Your comment makes our day, Logan! Welcome to Wonderopolis and thank you for your enthusiasm! We hope you will enjoy WONDERing and learning here as much as we do! Have an AMAZING day! :-)

  10. AWESOME I loved today’s wonder! When my mom asked me what the hottest place on earth was ( Before we read the wonder ) I said the Earth’s core! GOOD JOB!

    • We appreciate your enthusiasm for WONDER, Betsy! We’re glad you loved exploring this Wonder of the Day® with us and learning about the hottest places on Earth! We bet the Earth’s core is SUPER, SUPER, SUPER hot, too! :-)

    • We think that might be a little TOO close to a volcano for anyone to live, deantesman! Thank you for WONDERing about volcanoes with us today! :-)

    • Thanks so much for sharing your feelings about heat, Rithik! We think it would be difficult to live in such a hot place, too, but humans are AMAZING creatures and we adapt pretty well to all kinds of situations! People who live in extremely hot locations might think living in a super cold place would be awful. It’s AWESOME that there are so many different kinds of people in the world…if we all liked the same things, and enjoyed living in the same types of places, life would be a lot less WONDERful, don’t you think? :-)

    • We’re glad to hear it, Neveah! We Wonder if you and your classmates visit Wonderopolis at school, or if you enjoy WONDERing from home or the library? :)

    • How right you are, Wonder Friend Caleb- this is one toasty Wonder! We are glad you’re here today… what was your favorite part of this high temperature Wonder? :)

    • Hey there, Jajuan! Thanks for WONDERing with us! We are curious to know if you would like to travel to the hottest place on Earth? Where is the hottest place you have traveled?

      Stay cool, Wonder Friend! :)

  11. We are reading a book about Iraq, and we wanted to know more about deserts. Thank you for this information. What makes the desert hot compared to other places in the world? Thanks!

    • Hello, Mrs. Worley’s WONDERful WONDERing class! We think it is WONDERful that you are reading and learning about deserts today! We are so glad that you found the information on our website useful! We think deserts are hot because there is very little rain, and the sun is beating down on the ground for most of the day. Did you know that deserts can actually get really cold at night? Cool, huh? Thanks for WONDERing with us today, Wonder Friends! :-)

  12. Is there any water in the desert since it’s so hot? How hard is the ground? The pictures of the sand looked soft. How hot does the sand get? Is it the same as the temperature of the air? We can’t believe how hot it can get in the desert!!! Thanks!

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Where is the hottest place on Earth?
  • What’s the highest air temperature ever recorded on Earth?
  • Where is Death Valley?


Wonder Gallery

shadow camels_shutterstock_94335436Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Think you would want to live in Dallol, Ethiopia? Unless you really, really like hot weather, you probably wouldn’t want to live there. However, it can be a beautiful place to visit.

Because of volcanic activity in the area, hot springs bring salt deposits to the surface, where the Sun quickly bakes away the water. This leaves behind salt deposits in beautiful shades of yellow, white, red and green. To see pictures of these amazing deposits, jump online to check out A Volcanic Rainbow in the Hottest Place on Earth.


Still Wondering

In Science NetLinks’ The Warmth of the Sun lesson, children will take a closer look at the Sun and begin to recognize its critical function in heating and warming the air, land, and water that sustain our lives.


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